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What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics

av R. C. Sproul

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1,67298,060 (4.37)3
What Do the Five Points of Calvinism Really Mean? Many have heard of Reformed theology, but may not be certain what it is. Some references to it have been positive, some negative. It appears to be important, and they'd like to know more about it. But they want a full, understandable explanation, not a simplistic one. What Is Reformed Theology? is an accessible introduction to beliefs that have been immensely influential in the evangelical church. In this insightful book, R. C. Sproul walks readers through the foundations of the Reformed doctrine and explains how the Reformed belief is centered on God, based on God's Word, and committed to faith in Jesus Christ. Sproul explains the five points of Reformed theology and makes plain the reality of God's amazing grace.… (mer)
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Case 2 shelf 4
  semoffat | Aug 1, 2021 |
3 DVD's, 12 part series. ( )
  DRCLibrary | Dec 10, 2018 |
Having dabbled in reformed theology off and on for the better part of 20 years, I came to this book already having a passing familiarity with much of what Sproul is intending to communicate. I wanted to read this so that I might have a better, deeper understanding of what Reformed theology is and is not, and this book lives up to that purpose. An excellent introduction into what exactly is meant by "reformed" theology, the first half of the book gives historical context and overview of reformed theology and its distinguishing characteristics, while the second half of the book deals with the five points of Calvinism, which is an essential part of reformed thought. Interestingly, one can ascribe to Calvinism without being reformed, but one cannot be reformed without ascribing to Calvinism.

At times the prose was a bit thicker than I anticipated, considering that the title includes the phrase Understanding the Basics, however, Sproul is usually pretty good at taking complex ideas and explaining them in an easily understood manner. There were some times I had to re-read a paragraph or two, but that was more common when he was block quoting Luther or Calvin.

All in all, I can say that this book has helped me to more fully understand what I believe and why I believe it, and it will remain a permanent fixture on my bookcase. ( )
  Adam_Z | Mar 19, 2018 |
Though I disagree with Sproul's philosophy on certain points and definitions of faith and of the will, this book discusses heavy duty theology in a very readable manner without watering them down. It not only covers TULIP but also historical theology and the historical and theological context of the Reformation.

Sproul is an outstanding theologian, but his philosophy can be pretty bad. He relies too much on Thomas Aquinas for his philosophy. "Our theology should be informed by both the Bible and nature" (18). I think Gordon Clark gives the best, most biblical and consistently Reformed philosophy (see http://www.trinityfoundation.org/archive.php?s=1).

Sproul claims that "the presence of both notitia [understanding the Gospel] and assensus [assenting to or agreeing with the Gospel] is still insufficient for justification" (74) because "a third element must be present...fiducia, a personal trust and reliance on Christ... Fiducia also involves the affections" (74). I disagree, for the Bible simply says to "repent and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15), i.e. know the Gospel and agree with it.

When describing the will of man, Sproul disagrees with determinism--that "our choices are controlled by external forces [including God]" (134)--and, in accordance with Jonathan Edwards' "self-determination," explains that "we choose according to our strongest inclination at the moment" (135). However, this makes God more of a "roof" that limits our wills but doesn't affect them directly. The Westminster Confession's and Gordon Clark's determinism sounds more Biblical: God is the ultimate cause of all things, including sin, but uses secondary causes (such as our wills) to accomplish His good purpose.

His chapter on the Atonement ends abruptly too, and I think he should've quoted Roman Catholic sources directly when addressing them. Nevertheless, Sproul offers a great intro to Reformed theology, and I learned a great many things pertaining to covenant theology, historical theology, and more. Read it! ( )
  cemontijo | Jan 18, 2016 |
A good introduction to Reformed Theology, Sproul here outlines the Five Points of Calvinism and some of the theological distinctives that underpin the doctrinal system. While overall helpful, the book is more philosophical than exegetical, nor does Sproul seriously wrestle with any other theological systems. C+ ( )
  bsanner | Mar 6, 2012 |
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Published as Grace unknown in 1997 and What is reformed theology? in 2005.
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What Do the Five Points of Calvinism Really Mean? Many have heard of Reformed theology, but may not be certain what it is. Some references to it have been positive, some negative. It appears to be important, and they'd like to know more about it. But they want a full, understandable explanation, not a simplistic one. What Is Reformed Theology? is an accessible introduction to beliefs that have been immensely influential in the evangelical church. In this insightful book, R. C. Sproul walks readers through the foundations of the Reformed doctrine and explains how the Reformed belief is centered on God, based on God's Word, and committed to faith in Jesus Christ. Sproul explains the five points of Reformed theology and makes plain the reality of God's amazing grace.

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